Orrcon Racing, Bargwanna on HANS device

Bargwanna praises new safety device During the opening two rounds of this year's V8 Supercar Championship Larkham -- Orrcon Racing's Jason Bargwanna has been an unfortunate victim involved in a pair of high speed accidents. Bargwanna is ...

Bargwanna praises new safety device

During the opening two rounds of this year's V8 Supercar Championship Larkham -- Orrcon Racing's Jason Bargwanna has been an unfortunate victim involved in a pair of high speed accidents.

Bargwanna is certainly one driver who is applauding the decision by AVESCO to enforce the mandatory use of a HANS (Head And Neck Support) device by all drivers in the V8 Supercar Championship.

This device was co-developed by Dr. Robert Hubbard, a professor of engineering at Michigan State University, and his brother-in-law, former American driver Jim Downing. The HANS device is designed to reduce the chance of injury caused by unrestrained movement of the head during crashes.

The HANS device is a semi-hard collar made of carbon fiber and Kevlar, and it is held onto the upper body by a harness worn by the driver. Two flexible tethers on the collar are attached to the helmet to prevent the head from snapping forward or to the side during an accident. The device weighs under a kilogram.

During the opening race in Adelaide Bargwanna hit the concrete wall at over 200kmph causing severe damage to his Orrcon Racing Falcon. The impact was recorded in excess of 6g's which equates to Bargwanna being subjected to the force of six times his normal body weight (or a total of 432kg's) pushing against him during the impact.

His incident at Pukekohe during the final race of the second round, Bargwanna left the road at 200kmph when he lost steering on the back straight and hit the Armco at an impact of 4 g's.

In any crash, the Sabelt five-point harness and seat would restrain Bargwanna's torso, but prior to the use of the HANS device his neck endured the full impact by having to support and restrain Bargwanna's head plus the weight of his helmet (approx 1.5kg).

Without the use of the HANS device Bargwanna's neck muscles would have been subject to the force of almost 10kg's in the Adelaide crash, similar to the force extracted when throwing a small bag of cement powder with only your neck muscles.

With HANS, it has been proven that forces stretching the neck in a frontal collision are reduced by more than 80 percent by tethers from the driver's helmet to the HANS collar, behind a driver's helmet. By restraining the head to move with the torso in a crash, the head motions and forces in the neck are dramatically reduced as Bargwanna can now testify to.

"It is great to know technology has advanced in a way to keep you safe," said Bargwanna.

"Using the HANS device has been a new process for everyone involved but one that I am glad everyone has worked through, I had a few more issues that most being so short but now that we have found a device that is designed specifically for my size I feel very comfortable in the car.

"Knowing the facts behind the device and how much it assists during an accident I won't be getting in any car without one, compulsory or not compulsory.

"The level of competition in the V8 Supercar Championship being so high it also unfortunately means that accidents are going to become more prevalent therefore driver safety is always going to be high on the agenda."

After spending four days in New Zealand last week to complete the repairs on the number 10 Orrcon Racing Falcon and preparing both cars, the crew have now loaded the transporter onto the ship that is due to arrive in Brisbane on Friday.

The transporter will be unpacked, restocked and then depart on Sunday morning headed for Perth where the next round of the Championship will be held from May 6 -- 8.

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jim Downing , Jason Bargwanna